Charlotte, NC -- May 1, 2019. Baker & Taylor today announced a shift in its business operations to align with the education focus of parent company Follett Corporation. Baker & Taylor will expand its role with public libraries everywhere to deliver innovative literacy and learning solutions to community members. As part of this strategic shift, Baker & Taylor will exit the distribution of wholesale books to retailers.
"Baker & Taylor's public library business is critical to Follett's goal of improving the quality of life in communities through learning and education," said Pat Connolly, President and CEO, Follett Corporation. "This shift for Baker & Taylor reflects our intent to focus all of Follett's capabilities, resources and investments to helping people learn, grow and thrive in communities everywhere."
Follett, a leader in content and technology at all levels of education, acquired Baker & Taylor in 2016 to take advantage of the complementary strengths in the companies' respective school and public library businesses. Follett serves more than 90,000 schools and school libraries in the U.S., Canada, and 140 countries, while Baker & Taylor supports 6,000 public library systems, representing 90 percent of all U.S. public libraries.
"Public libraries have always been core to Baker & Taylor's business, which is why this change will help accelerate the pace of innovative solutions our teams are introducing to drive community outcomes," said David Cully, President of Baker & Taylor. "Exiting wholesale book distribution will allow us to align our resources, technology and people to do what we do best – helping public libraries support the communities they serve."
One example of Baker & Taylor's innovative approach to expanding community learning is the recent introduction of the Pop-Up Library, which gives patrons immediate online and secure access to e-books from anywhere in the community in locations like senior centers, hospitals and even city buses.
The growing collaboration between Baker & Taylor and Follett's K-12 school libraries, classrooms and higher education businesses is already driving better community outcomes, as evidenced by the launch of Community Share, a program that allows public libraries to share curated digital content with their local school partners, further expanding the breadth of offerings and support to local students. Since the program's inception in 2016, over 4 million e-books have circulated across 23 public and school partnerships. Follett is also working to build connections between K-12 school libraries, classrooms, public libraries and institutions of higher education, with the goal of bridging the gaps in college and career readiness within communities. Follett's ability to focus exclusively on the education sector will accelerate these plans.
"We will be working closely with our existing customers and partners to ensure a smooth transition during this change," Cully added.
Baker & Taylor Publisher Services is not impacted by this change and remains a cornerstone of Baker & Taylor's future growth strategy. Baker & Taylor's subsidiary businesses in the U.K. and Mexico are also not affected by this change. Baker & Taylor's decision to exit the retail book distribution business follows Follett's sale of Baker & Taylor's retail entertainment products business in January of this year.
About Follett Corporation
Follett Corporation is the world's largest single source of books, digital content and multi-media for libraries, schools and institutions. Headquartered in Westchester, Illinois, Follett provides education technology, services and physical and digital content to millions of students at 70,000 schools and more than 2,700 physical and virtual campus stores in North America. Through Baker & Taylor, Follett's reach also extends to the public library markets.